Want to get customers through your door - without actually having to lift a finger to get them there?
Maybe you don’t have time for marketing your business. Maybe the last thing you want to do at the end of a busy day is post ads on Facebook or post an update on your website.
If that sounds familiar, then you might be the perfect candidate for word-of-mouth marketing.
Get our FREE Guide on How to Master Word-of-Mouth Marketing here!
Word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) is a type of marketing strategy that uses previous customers to help bring in new clients. At first glance, the idea seems pretty simple: Provide a product or service that’s so great, your happy customer will immediately run out and tell his or her social circles about your business.
When someone whose opinion you value recommends a product or service to you, you’re more likely to take up that recommendation because you trust that person.
In reality, word-of-mouth marketing can be tricky to master, precisely because you’re relying on customers to take it upon themselves to recommend you to others. A customer might recommend you without even thinking twice about it, while another customer might need a lot of extra attention to feel confident recommending your business.
Fortunately, there are key strategies you can use to make it much more likely that your happy customers will recommend your business (and we’ll show them to you!). But first, let’s take a look at why word-of-mouth marketing is so effective in the first place.
The reason why word-of-mouth marketing works is simple: in the eyes of your customer, getting a recommendation from someone he or she knows invokes a feeling of trust that he or she wouldn’t otherwise get from you.
Here’s the deal: When someone whose opinion you value recommends a product or service to you, you’re more likely to take up that recommendation because you trust that person. The relationship you’ve built with him or her has social equity that transfers to the recommended product or service. When compared to other products or services, you’re probably much more likely to try the one that was recommended to you by someone you trust.
The key word here is trust.
When customers first approach your business, they don’t really know anything about you, so that all-important trust isn’t there. But if they’re approaching you based on the recommendation of someone they know and trust, they already have a good feeling about your business.
It’s almost as if that trust transfers straight to you!
So now that you know why word-of-mouth marketing works, what’s the best way you can actually build some serious buzz about your business?
1. Brand everything and anything.
Not all word-of-mouth marketing will come from past customers who are recommending your services. Some will come from folks who happen to remember your company’s name because they saw it on a hoodie at the grocery store or on your truck while you were driving by.
2. Deliver a great product or service.
This is the absolute bare minimum must-do for word-of-mouth marketing. You could promise all the discounts, bonuses, and extra incentives in the world, but if you’re providing a subpar product or service to your customers, they’re not going to recommend you to their social networks.
3. Go the extra mile for your customers.
Maybe there’s a client who lives outside of your scope of work, but you make the extra trip. Or maybe your client hired you to powerwash his patio deck, and you throw in some free staining to bring out his deck’s natural luster. The point here is that going the extra mile in an unexpected way will absolutely wow your customers - and that translates into some serious word-of-mouth recommendations.
4. Specialize in a niche.
Unless you’re one of those wunderkind businesses that can literally do everything and anything really well, try to focus on a few specialties so you can get really good at them. When you blow people out of the water with your work, they won’t be able to resist passing on your name to the rest of their social networks.
5. Set up a review process.
Don’t be shy about asking your customers for reviews, especially if you know you’ve done a good job. Make it a seamless part of finishing out a project. For example, you can provide your customers with a business card with all the links to the sites where they can leave you reviews. You may even want to provide your customers with a small discount on a future project if they leave you an online review.
Word-of-mouth marketing might feel like it’s impossible to control and influence, but it’s really not. It’s more about making sure you bring your A-game to every interaction with a customer, as well as making it as easy as possible for that customer to recommend you. When you’re able to tie these two steps together, you’ll be building word-of-mouth business at a lightning-fast pace.
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I love writing about the small business experience because I happen to be a small business owner - I've had a freelance copywriting business for over 10 years. In addition to that, I also head up the content strategy here at Simply Business. Reach out if you have a great idea for an article or just want to say hi!
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